Sourdough pumpernickel loaves formed and ready to double in bulk.
The overnight sponge takes a bit more time, but the long hydration period is a perfect match for whole grain baking, and while you can substitute dry yeast for the sourdough, the latter offers an additional complexity that is a great compliment to the other flavours.
Instant Hot Chocolate Mix is a great convenience – especially when you head outside. That said, really good rich hot cocoa mix isn’t cheap – but you can easily make gourmet all in one mix at home with quality bulk ingredients for a fraction of the price of buying it already prepped very easily and quickly.
These also go great with homemade marshmallows which you can flavor any way you wish – peppermint or cinnamon anyone?
This is a desert that is guaranteed to WOW those to whom it is served. I know, it oft been the desert I’ve been requested to bring, and it was the desert I would request in return for straight A’s when I was in school – it may explain why I was honor role. For all of that awesomeness it is an incredibly easy desert to prepare. IF you are one of those folks who can’t seem to make a piecrust – then this is definitely a desert for you. Click on the post title for the full recipe and for a detailed step by step walk through the steps watch the video. You won’t regret it!
Marshmallows likely strike most folks today as some complex food that must contain several dozen compounds with long and complex names able to be made only in complex factories. The reality is exactly the opposite – marshmallows are simple and easy to produce at home. Moreover, you can make some great flavoured marshmallows – such as these peppermint ones that are the perfect accompaniment for hot chocolate.
There’s good reason why biscuits were an essential part of pioneer cooking fare – they are quick and easy to make, are incredibly versatile and especially when warm right from the oven – like most fresh baking – make any meal go from whatever to wow! They were the perfect tool for the busy pioneer wife to pull together to make her meals special. Not so surprisingly they fill that same role today just as well. Between work and school and a myriad of other things that fill our modern lives the busyness while different is likely often just as much of an issue today as it was a hundred years ago – so any modern baker – male or female, hitched or not – should have a good basic biscuit recipe to turn to in times of need. This happens to be a great and versatile one.
Often things that appear intimidating the the uninitiated are a breeze to pull off for those that know a few tricks. It’s that way with so many things including many in the kitchen. Wonton wrappers are one of these.
I think most folks who’ve eaten spring rolls, pot stickers, egg rolls or wonton soup would dismiss the idea that they could produce so thin a dough at home.
Yet, it actually extremely easy to get great results – and do so quickly – using whole wheat flour to boot!
Rolling out wonton wrappers – it’s easy to get them thin if you are patient.
There are a couple of tricks to making the process easy. The first, as is the case with our whole wheat bread we want to add a bit of acid – in this case white vinegar – to make the gluten stretchier. Whole extraction flours have a lower ratio of gluten to the rest of the flour since we’ve got all of the germ and bran mixed in.
Now like the song lyrics you “can’t rush love” or was that “can’t buy love” you actually might be able to do both but you can’t rush making wonton wrappers. A good rest is required after the first kneed to allow the gluten to strengthen – I generally prefer to make the dough, bag it in a ziplock, place it in the fridge and come back to roll it out the next day.
Now you can do all the rolling out with only a stout rolling pin, but if you have a pasta machine – and you should – this will really speed up the process.
The final secret is corn starch and the liberal application of it when rolling out the dough. Forget flour, corn starch is it.
Now this recipe forms quite a few wrappers;about three dozen give or take, but the great news is that the wrappers refrigerate and freeze well, so you can make a big batch and freeze what you don’t need right away for another meal – and there will be many more meals featuring these as soon as folks try them. If you want to keep folks thinking you’re some kind of genius for mastering these I promise I won’t whisper to them how easy it really was, then again, maybe just being willing to try something new and seemingly daugnting qualifies you as a minor genius….
I enjoy making this bread whenever I have leftover mashed potatoes that need to be used up. BUT, I will make mashed potatoes specifically to be used in this bread when I’m going to be making toasted bacon and tomato sandwiches.
Toasted Bacon and Tomato Sandwich on Whole Wheat Potato Bread
The mashed potatoes do a couple of things. First off since they don’t contain gluten we get a somewhat denser bread. I say somewhat because it is nowhere as dense as a rye, triticale, spelt or barley loaf. The reduction in gluten is to some extent mitigated by the easily converted starches that give the yeast an extra boost. At the same time we get a moister loaf. The combination makes for a great toasting bread – and great toast is the foundation of a great bacon and tomato sandwich!
Originally potato bread was used to stretch more expensive wheat flour but today the bread merits being included in your baking rotation on its own merits alone. That said, it remains a great way to put that little bit of mashed potatoes remaining after some meals to good use in your daily bread!
Rolling whole wheat crackers directly on silicon baking sheet
The prices for a box of great crackers is pretty steep, but you don’t have to eat that cost to make a great foundation for cheese or smoked salmon – just make your own.
It is actually very easy and fast to produce your own crackers at home, in fact you’d probably be able to get them done and cooling before you’d have been able to fetch them in a trip to your local grocery store. Like any baking and cooking you also gain the advantage of being able to tailor the recipe to your taste.
This process is extra easy if you roll the crackers right out onto silicon baking sheets – then after scoring them you can slip them onto baking sheets.
So easy and yet so good – you’ll really impress yourself with these so go ahead and make some.
Super chocolaty brownies made with whole barley flour
These brownies are crazy awesome good. Frankly they are soooo chocolaty that it masks most (but not all) of the sweet nuttiness that I love from the whole barley flour. These are really really good, and so quick to prepare that you’ll be able to whip them up and have them in the oven in under five minutes – washing your bowl will take as long as the prep.
This recipe is also a great one to hand to new bakers (of all ages). Unlike cookies which are fun but can be a bit time consuming these brownies are pretty close to instant gratification and there is really little chance of it being screwed up.
If you have younger bakers you might find the mixing a bit of a challenge with a wooden spoon. Pick up some Danish Whisks and the kids will be able to do all of the mixing themselves. Once you’ve got them in your kitchen drawer they will end up being your default mixing tool they are that good.
There are folks who revel in roughing it when they head into the bush. That’s not me. Now don’t get me wrong, I love the outdoors and think glamping is silly but while I am perfectly capable of living rough if need be, if I can make things more comfortable for myself I will. That includes food.
Cinnamon buns cooked over the campfire
Much of my camping is done by canoe – so even if there are portages the size and weight constraints aren’t that rigorous – which makes more diverse outdoor fare reasonable. These campfire cinnamon buns are a case in point. Having these with coffee in the morning while looking out over still waters with the mist rising off them is a pretty awesome experience.
Now most would expect to need a stove to bake cinnamon buns – or at the very least a reflector oven, but these are cooked in much the same way as you would the english muffins we already covered – as griddle cakes in a frypan – which makes them much more reasonable to produce.
Dough rolled out ready for cinnamon and sugar
What I prefer to do is use an extra large ziplock bag – add flour – I prefer to use the whole wheat ground on the diy grain mill – add a pinch of salt, some yeast, a bit of sugar and then add water until you have a sticky dough. You can do an ok job of roughly kneading the dough while it remains in the ziplock bag. Since I generally do this step just before turning in for the night – I generally don’t do a second knead. Make sure the air is out of the bag and don’t get carried away and make too big a batch, and place the bag in a warm spot overnight.
Something spectacular to wake up to
In the morning open the bag, punch down the dough, pull out dough balls, flour roll out, and sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on the dough and then roll up and cut as you would with regular cinnamon rolls. Allow them to rise and then place them in an greased frying pan. I often just use a couple of pieces of bacon to provide the fat needed to render the surface non stick.
Cook over low heat on one side for a bit, then flip and cook on the other. Alternate sides until the buns are cooked through. Allow to cool slightly and serve with a bit of butter if you have any along. Enjoy.